Thursday, September 4, 2014

Making Fresh Cheese

For years I have wanted to make fresh cheese and last week I finally did it. I went to my local Portuguese food market which was lovely (Portugalia) and I bought all the supplies. I raced home and got it started. For my first attempt, I did ok. I really need to buy a cooking thermomator because the temperature of the milk is very important for the curdling process. The right temperature should produce really large curds which is ideal for this cheese. I also think next time I would add some salt to the milk to give it some more taste since I think it was rather bland. I will share the recipe which is very easy, the biggest challenge is the milk temperature.

What you need:
1 teaspoon of Powdered Rennet
half a gallon of local milk (once that is not double pasteurized)
a cheese mold
a cooking thermometer like a candy one
salt to taste

What to do:
In a large pot pour milk and heat on medium low. For 30 minutes heat milk until it reaches 98 degrees. Do not boil milk or else it will not work. You want it to stay warm without overheating it. Once 30 minutes have past, remove from heat and stir in the rennet. Stir until it is completely dissolved. Then leave it for at least 30 minutes. During this time it will begin to curd. The longer you let it still the more it will curd. Once the curds have formed remove the curds from the pot with a slotted spoon. Transfer to the cheese mold. Be sure to place the mold in a shallow dish because over the next three days, while the cheese is forming, you will have to drain it.

At the end of day three (or when the cheese is firm and no longer draining) it is done and ready to enjoy. I ate mine with some salt and crushed red pepper on some crusty bread.

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